IGMS Issue 2

IGMS Issue 2 by IGMS

Book: IGMS Issue 2 by IGMS Read Free Book Online
Authors: IGMS
it. If you think what I got in my poke is valuable, think what folks would do to have a solid block of water that showed them true visions of things far and near, past and present."
    Arthur reached out and offered the cube to Alvin.
    But instead of taking it, Alvin only smiled, and the cube went liquid all at once and dribbled through Arthur Stuart's fingers. Arthur looked at the puddle on the table, feeling as forlorn as he ever had.
    "It's just water," said Alvin.
    "And a little bit of blood."
    "Naw," said Alvin. "I took that back."
    "Good night," said Arthur Stuart. "And ... thank you for setting them free."
    "Once you set your heart on it, Arthur, what else could I do? I looked at them and thought, somebody loved them once as much as your mama loved you. She died to set you free. I didn't have to do that. Just inconvenience myself a little. Put myself at risk, but not by much."
    "But you saw what I did, didn't you? I made it soft without getting it hot."
    "You done good, Arthur Stuart. There's no denying it. You're a maker now."
    "Not much of one."
    "Whenever you got two makers, one's going to be more of a maker than the other. But lessen that one starts gettin' uppity, it's good to remember that there's always a third one who's better than both of them."
    "Who's better than you?" asked Arthur Stuart.
    "You," said Alvin. "Because I'll take an ounce of compassion over a pound of tricks any day. Now go to sleep."
    Only then did Arthur let himself feel how very, very tired he was. Whatever had kept him awake before, it was gone now. He barely made it to his cot before he fell asleep.

    Oh, there was a hullabaloo in the morning. Suspicions flew every which way. Some folks thought it was the boys from the raft, because why else would the slaves have left their cargo behind? Until somebody pointed out that with the cargo still on the raft, there wouldn't have been room for all the runaways.
    Then suspicion fell on the guard who had slept, but most folks knew that was wrong, because if he had done it then why didn't he run off, instead of lying there asleep on the deck till a crewman noticed the slaves was gone and raised the alarm.
    Only now, when they were gone, did the ownership of the slaves become clear. Alvin had figured Mr. Austin to have a hand in it, but the man most livid at their loss was Captain Howard hisself. That was a surprise. But it explained why the men bound for Mexico had chosen this boat to make their journey downriver.
    To Alvin's surprise, though, Austin and Howard both kept glancing at him and young Arthur Stuart as if they suspected the truth. Well, he shouldn't have been surprised, he realized. If Bowie told them what had happened to his knife out on the water, they'd naturally wonder if a man with such power over iron might have been the one to slip the hinge pins out of all the fetters.
    Slowly the crowd dispersed. But not Captain Howard, not Austin. And when Alvin and Arthur made as if to go, Howard headed straight for them. "I want to talk to you," he said, and he didn't sound friendly.
    "What about?" said Alvin.
    "That boy of yours," said Howard. "I saw how he was doing their slops on the morning watch. I saw him talking to them. That made me suspicious, all right, since not one of them spoke English."
    "Pero todos hablaban espanol," said Arthur Stuart.
    Austin apparently understood him, and looked chagrined. "They
of them spoke Spanish? Lying skunks."
    Oh, right, as if slaves owed you some kind of honesty.
    "That's as good as a confession," said Captain Howard. "He just admitted he speaks their language and learned things from them that even their master didn't know."
    Arthur was going to protest, but Alvin put a hand on his shoulder. He did
, however, stop his mouth. "My boy here," said Alvin, "only just learned to speak Spanish, so naturally he seized on an opportunity to practice. Unless you got some evidence that those fetters was opened by use of a slop bucket, then I think you can

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